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Monday, March 25, 2013


The boardwalk at Point Pleasant is currently being rebuilt and spirits are high!

by Steven P. Velasquez
March 24, 2013

Jersey Strong!

So what does "Jersey Strong" actually mean? It's tough to define in words alone, but perhaps some imagery will help.

As October 2012 gave way to November, the second most expensive storm to strike the U.S. ever, gave a direct blow to the Jersey Shore, costing billions, devastating thousands and killing more than 100 (Source: Time). Hurricane Sandy was second only to Hurricane Katrina which devastated the Gulf Coast in 2008.

February 6, 2013 was the 100 day mark after Sandy's landfall. Now April rapidly approaches, and as always, once the camera crews leave, so does the public interest and the support so desperately needed to recover. Just ask the people of Haiti and Louisiana. Despite these truths, the industrious and resilient people of  New Jersey are rebuilding and remain - Jersey Strong.

Despite the shameless acts of the politicians and the burgeoning bureaucracy known as FEMA, the people of New Jersey have been frantically rebuilding their homes, businesses and neighborhoods in an attempt to normalize their lives and be open for business for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, when NJ officially kicks off the summer tourism season.

Today, I took my family to Asbury Park, Belmar and Point Pleasant on a slow lazy ride to get a birds-eye view of things going on. The recovery and amount of progress was impressive! The one thing that really got to me and gave me pause was reaching the boardwalk at Point Pleasant and seeing the children's rides WERE OPEN!!! With the upcoming Easter Weekend a week away, I saw sidewalks full of families, smiling children and an occasional Easter bonnet atop a child's head.

For years and years, one of the Velasquez family traditions was to come to this area around this time to plant the seeds of summer enthusiasm in the children's heads. I have carried on that tradition and my fears of having to come up with an alternate plan were dashed with this beautiful sighting. I was almost driven to tears at the sights and sounds.
There were still stark reminders of the devastation and the monumental work-load ahead. The strength of this storm has left indelible marks in these storm struck communities and one can not help but feel for those affected.

Waffles & More was hollowed out by the devastating winds and surging waters of Hurricane Sandy
That said, what was even greater than the damage, was the strength, optimism and spirit of the people and the businesses of this area. The marquis in front of Red's Lobster Pot Restaurant enthusiastically displayed their expected opening date and the fact that they are PSYCHED!!!

The Norma-K is one of Point Pleasant's most popular fishing boats

Other businesses and industries of the area are also poised for success this year like Point Pleasant's fishing industries. Boats are in the water and schedules are posted to welcome what one hopes will be a great year in this new chapter of Jersey history, Jersey Strong history.

The Jersey Shore is OPEN FOR BUSINESS!


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